A new study estimates that deaths caused by hot weather, number in the thousands, rather than the hundreds, as previously thought. The study also warns that COVID-19 restrictions will likely lead to more deaths this year, as people are unable to access public buildings with air conditioning.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia and Boston University estimate that heat contributes to the death of 5,600 people each year, compared to the US Center for Disease Control and the estimate of 600 deaths from year.
The study was published in the journal Environmental Epidemiology, and “analyzed the association between days considered to be moderately or very hot in this region and the number of deaths from any cause,” according to a UBC news release on the study.
Analysis has shown that many deaths in the United States have been carried out on moderately warm soil on days, not just when the temperature has been deemed extremely hot. The researchers used data from the United States National Center for Health Statistics.
Researchers say that warmer cities don’t necessarily translate to more deaths. For example, in a city like Phoenix, Arizona, more buildings have air conditioning, while people who live in a city like Seattle may have less capacity to shelter in an air-conditioned building during a heat wave. .
The study authors warn that COVID-19 restrictions will make it more difficult for people to get a break from the heat, because many public buildings like libraries and shopping malls are closed to prevent the spread of the virus.